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Audio Advertising Success Story: Ulta Beauty

Beauty Breaks the Sound Barrier to Drive Holiday Sales


increase in intent for ads aimed at African American audiences


increase in intent for ads aimed at Hispanic audiences

The Objective

Visual-centric brands have historically let sound take a backseat in their advertising efforts. But with podcast listeners growing 40% in the past three years and audio-first apps like TikTok taking the world by storm, Ulta Beauty, the largest beauty retailer in the US, knew investing in audio advertising would be the only sound decision.

Through a recent campaign, Ulta Beauty aspired to drive in-store traffic and reach during the 2019 holiday season, especially among Black and Hispanic demographics.

The Approach

Ulta Beauty partnered with Pandora’s advertising arm, Pandora For Brands, to leverage its unique, hyper-personalized Dynamic Audio technology. The technology can serve ads to listeners by time, place, day, and even message depending on the listeners’ needs. This ranges from providing the nearest store’s curbside pickup options to sharing mask reminders when they are required for in-store shopping. Ulta Beauty also added multicultural preferences to its target audience to reach the growing Black and Hispanic audiences it aims to serve in its stores.

To ensure the best ad experience, Pandora’s technology strings together pieces of an audio ad for each listener. Then, utilizing the Veritonic platform, the audio was analyzed and scored for its effectiveness by measuring:

  • Purchase intent, recall, engagement
  • Key brand attributes like “Happy” and “Makes Me Feel Good”

Our Result

One version of the mnemonic stood out above the rest with the brand’s target audience:

  • +9pt increase in intent for Dynamic Audio ads aimed at a Hispanic audience
  • +7pt increase in intent for Dynamic Audio ads aimed at an African African audience
  • All spots beat industry benchmarks
  • Hispanic audiences were most likely to ‘feel good’ and be happy after hearing an ad
  • African American audiences mostly felt ‘happy’ after hearing an ad

With the support of Pandora and Veritonic technology, Ulta Beauty was able to capitalize on the reach available to podcast advertising and drive sales among African American and Hispanic audiences.

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